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5 Answers

Crosscountry with respect to original point of departure

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FAA Regulations, Instrument Rating

Different people I talk to have differing opinions on how to interpret FAR 61.1(b)(4)(ii)(B) as to what counts as cross country for the purposes of an instrument rating.

Suppose airport A and C are 51nm apart and B is in between them.

If I flew B - C - A - B can the entire trip be logged as crosscountry or only a portion of it?

One interpretation is only C - A can be counted since the point of departure B is less than 50nm from either A or C. 

Another interpretation is only C - A - B can be counted since C taken as the original point of departure is greater than 50nm from A and we can tack on A - B.

Another interpretation is B - C - A - B can all be counted since if we did C - A - B - C we can count it (as C is 51nm away from A) so logically we can count B - C - A - B since it is exactly the same route but just starting at a different point.

It seems that A - B - C - B - A can be logged even though none of the legs are greater than 50nm.

FAR 61.1(b)(4)(ii)(B) That includes a point of landing that was at least a straight-line distance of more than 50 nautical miles from the original point of departure;


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5 Answers

  1. Ron Klutts on Jul 08, 2012

    It’s as simple as ANY airport in the route must be >50 nm from the airport you depart from. It doesn’t matter where in the route it is or if they are a string of airports 10nm apart as long as one of them is 50 nm from where you started.
    So as you state B is in the middle of A and C, if you start at B then you never get more than 50 nm from your starting point. That doesn’t count. Draw a circle 50 nm around B and wnything outside of that is somwhere you need to land at at ANY point during the flight. You can then bounce around within that circle and it all counts as X/C time. I made the mistake early on to only count the >50 nm legs of the flight. It all counts.

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  2. Best Answer

    John D. Collins on Jul 08, 2012

    There have been several legal opinions on this subject from the FAA General Counsel’s office.  You have flexibility in how you log the flight, but what you log that may be counted towards the rating must comply with the regulation. So B-C could be logged as cross country but it would not count towards the rating. C-A-B meets the requirements of the regulation as C can be considered the original point of departure for those portions. Yes A-B-C-B-A meets the requirement of the regulation even though no individual leg is over 50 NM.  The point is that if your original point of departure is B, you will have to land at D somewhere on your cross country which is more than 50 NM from B in order for all the legs to count towards meeting the requirement.

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  3. Jon on Jul 09, 2012

    Why dont you log two flights:
    Lets suppose B-C is 25 nm aand B-A is 26 nm just to put some numbers on the distances.
    Instead of B-C-A-B, log the following
    1) B-C
    2) C-A-B
    This way you can maximize your XC distance flown.

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  4. Ron Klutts on Jul 09, 2012

    I found a letter from the FAA Chief Council dated 12/1/2009 to Mr. Dwight B Van Zanen that does allow for a reposition flight so what Jon suggests will work. Just log B=C as says on a separate line in the logbook but’s not X/C for purposes of a rating. The second part of the flight with a landing beyond 50 nm all counts as x/c time. 

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  5. Bob Gardner on Nov 12, 2012

    Can the long x-cntry for the commercial pilot certificate (or any rating, really) occur over more than one day. That is, could you, for example, fly legs 1 and 2 one day 1, and then fly leg 3 (or more) several days later—assuming leg 2 starts at the end of leg 1, leg 3 starts at the end of leg 2, etc.

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